TOWNSVILLE recruit Mickell Gladness is known worldwide in basketball circles for his defensive prowess.
And the towering 2.11m centre said it was a few pointers from Miami Heat superstar Chris Bosh that helped make him the intimidating defender he is today.
The American spoke to APN during the NBL Blitz in Brisbane on the weekend. Townsville went through the tournament unbeaten to claim the second edition of the Loggins-Bruton Cup, and Gladness was named the MVP.
He scored 19 points and came up with four rebounds against Melbourne United, before nailing 14 points while picking up six rebounds and four blocked shots against the New Zealand Breakers.
He led the NCAA in blocked shots in 2006-07 with an average of 6.27 per game, and racked up 396 blocks during his career at Alabama A&M.
Gladness also holds the NCAA record for the highest number of blocked shots in a single game - recording 16 against Texas Southern in 2007.
After playing eight games with Bosh in Miami's championship-winning 2011/12 NBA season, Gladness said he was able to take his defensive game to a new level. "I remember one day at practice guarding him (Bosh) and I pressed up on him and he kind of moved away from me," Gladness said.
"He told me how smart you have to be on defence just playing mind games with people.
"Sometimes you have to just jump at your opponent and they think you're going to pressure up.
"That kind of stuck with me and I try to do that - play like a chess game with them during the game," he added.
Gladness, who also played 18 games with Golden State in 2011/12, should also offer plenty to Townsville's offence this summer.
The team is looking to improve its attack after its last-placed finish in the 2013/14 NBL season, not helped by a 3-12 start to the season.
The 28-year-old is mobile and quick around the court for such a big man.
"I've always been pretty quick. I wouldn't say I was clumsy, it's just been about getting used to my size," he said.
"My trainer was like 'you're big, but you're not going to play like a big man. You have things that you can use against the big man'.
"So turning that switch on and hearing that philosophy - just changing my mindset - it made all the difference," he added.